Malathion

Generic Name: malathion (MAL-a-THYE-on)
Brand Name: Ovide

Malathion is used for:

Treating head lice.

Malathion is a pediculicide. It works by killing lice and their eggs.

Do NOT use malathion if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in malathion
  • the patient is an infant

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using malathion:

Some medical conditions may interact with malathion. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with malathion. However, no specific interactions with malathion are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if malathion may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use malathion:

Use malathion as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Apply enough medicine to dry hair to completely wet the hair and scalp. Apply malathion to scalp hair only. Pay special attention to the hair on the back of the head and neck while applying malathion.
  • Wash your hands immediately after using malathion.
  • Malathion is flammable. Do not expose malathion or wet hair to lit cigarettes, open flames, or other heat sources (eg, electric heaters, hair dryers) until your hair is dry. Do not smoke while applying the lotion or while hair is wet.
  • Allow hair to dry naturally and keep it uncovered after you apply malathion.
  • After 8 to 12 hours, shampoo hair, paying special attention to the hair on the back of the head and neck while shampooing.
  • Rinse, and then comb the hair with a fine-tooth (nit) comb to remove dead lice and eggs. Start at the scalp and comb to the ends.
  • If lice are still present after 7 to 9 days, use malathion a second time as directed by your doctor. A second treatment is usually not necessary.
  • If you miss a dose of malathion, use it as soon as you remember. Continue to use it as directed by your doctor.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use malathion.

Important safety information:

  • Close your eyes while applying malathion. Avoid getting malathion in your eyes, nose, or mouth. When using malathion on a child, have the child keep his or her eyes closed while applying. If malathion comes into contact with the eyes, flush with water immediately. Talk to your doctor if eye irritation continues.
  • Other family members should visit a doctor to determine if they are infested with lice and need treatment.
  • If skin irritation occurs, wash your scalp and hair immediately. Reapply the medicine only if the irritation stops. If irritation occurs again, talk with your health care provider.
  • A slight stinging sensation may occur due to the alcohol in malathion.
  • Carefully supervise CHILDREN who are using malathion.
  • Malathion should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 6 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • Malathion is not recommended for use in INFANTS. They may be at a greater risk of side effects.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using malathion while you are pregnant. It is not known if malathion is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use malathion, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of malathion:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Mild stinging or irritation of the skin and scalp.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); burning of the skin or scalp.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing; slow, shallow breathing. Malathion may be harmful if swallowed.

Proper storage of malathion:

Store malathion at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Keep away from heat and open flame. Keep malathion out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about malathion, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Malathion is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take malathion or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about malathion. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to malathion. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using malathion.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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